Acquisition and renunciation of (release from) citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Acquisition and renunciation of (release from) citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Acquisition of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as renunciation of (release from) citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a common administrative subject matter our office deal with and therefore in this article we decided to present all relevant facts of both procedures in detail and in an altruistic way.  

1. Introduction – methods of acquisition and renunciation of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Let’s start with the basics, that is, the definitions themselves. 

Pursuant to the applicable Law on citizenship of BiH, acquisition of citizenship of BiH is carried out according to the following determinants:
  1. based on descent;
  2. based on birth on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  3. by adoption;
  4. by naturalization;
  5. by international agreement – so-called facilitated naturalization.  

On the other hand, renunciation of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina is carried out either by the force of law, by renunciation, by release or by international agreement.  

Law on citizenship of BiH determines the conditions for the acquisition and loss of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina where you can find a complete overview of the administrative procedure in question. 

How to get and release from citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina


"By taking a short Google search, you can see how much multiple passports and citizenships are in demand, and the reason is not to avoid paying taxes or similar attached claims that we are served in the media. People just like to have a retreat option, some form of enhanced security. Because the future is always economically and socially unpredictable."


2.1. Acquisition of BiH citizenship by descent (based on parents)

In order to make application and acquire the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina by descent/origin, it is necessary to meet one of the following determinants listed below:

a) whose both parents were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child's birth, regardless of the place of his birth;

b) one of whose parents was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child's birth and the child was born in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

c) whose one parent was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child's birth, and the child was born abroad, if he or she would otherwise be stateless;

d) if the child was born abroad and one of whose parents was a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the child's birth, provided that by the time he or she reaches the age of 23 he or she submits an application for registration of BiH citizenship to the competent authority.

In some cases, even when only one parent is born in BiH and registered in Records of citizens by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, there is a high chance that the applicant will also acquire BiH citizenship upon application. The Law on Citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina prescribed a 23-year age limit for applying and receiving citizenship when only one parent was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, even if there is situation when you are older than this age limit, the process of acquiring citizenship can be carried out successfully, although in that situation we need to make an accurate insight into your case and the existence of certain preconditions.

> The most difficult part when we talk about acquiring BiH citizenship by descent is not collecting and  completing documentation, but creating a reasonable and valid request that won’t be rejected by each and every administrative body. If you think you are somehow qualified to obtain citizenship by descent (either through parents, grandparents), and want counselling help to avoid wasting time and tapping in the dark for months to gather any information, feel free to send an inquiry to our team in order to get free examination of your particular case.


"The process of acquiring citizenship can be successfully carried out even after the age of 23, although in that particular situation an accurate insight into your case should be made."

Proudly showing off Bosnian-Herzegovinian passport

Photo 1 - Proudly showing off Bosnian-Herzegovinian passport, Copyright: LJUBIC Law Firm with client's agreement

> REAL EXAMPLE: What does the Decision on acquisition of BiH citizenship of a person older than 23, with only one parent born in BiH look like → check by clicking here.

Introducing into Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizenship is possible after the 23 years of age as well

… A special category are those who apply to regain BiH citizenship

> Recovering citizenship of BiH is possible with a precisely explained application and under the certain general conditions, where, among other things, the registered residence is prescribed in the period of 1 year before the submission of the application.

2.2. Acquisition of citizenship of BiH for a foreign person based on the application – naturalization 

For this purpose, naturalisation shall mean admission to citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina of a foreign person based on a duly submitted application and fulfilment of any requested (prescribed by the Law) conditions. 
It would mean that the requested conditions  for BiH citizenship registration of a foreign person shall be as follows:

  • the age of majority,
  • a permanent place of residence was approved on the territory of BiH for at least 3 years before submitting a request,
  • knowledge of language and script of one of the languages of the BiH constituent peoples,
  • not being sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a premeditated criminal act for longer than three years within 8 years of the submission of a request,
  • to renounce or otherwise lose his or her former citizenship before the acquisition of the citizenship of BiH, unless a bilateral agreement as referred to in Article 14 provides otherwise,
  • not to represent a threat to BiH national security,
  • to have a steady source of income in the amount necessary for living,
  • to have settled any tax or other obligations,
  • to sign a declaration of acceptance of the legal system and constitutional arrangement in BiH
  • to obtain a valid guarantee of acquisition of BiH citizenship. 

Back to long forgotten roads with apply and acquisition of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Photo 2 - Back to long forgotten roads, Copyright: LJUBIC Law Firm


"In some countries, such as the United States of America for instance, possession of citizenship plays an important role in inheriting property and enjoying inheritance."

2.3. Rejecting the application for acquisition of citizenship of BiH 

However, rejecting an application for naturalization is possible even though the applicant fulfils basic requirements for citizenship acquisition in a situation when there are reasonable doubts the national security of BiH and public order would be endangered, or if naturalization is not in accordance with the interests of BiH for some other reason as determined based on overall assessment of the applicant.    


3.1. Renunciation of citizenship of BiH

The main reason for renunciation (release from)  Bosnian-Herzegovian citizenship is acquisition of citizenship of some other country (mostly of the Western European countries – Germany, Austria, etc.) and getting the employment status in those countries. 

Procedure for citizenship renunciation shall be in a way that a person wishing to renounce his or her citizenship shall make a declaration for the renunciation either in person or via authorised representative before the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH or before BiH Diplomatic-Consular Representatives. Aforesaid application should be accompanied by supporting documents in order to be successfully resolved. 

4. Records by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH

The Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH shall keep the records on acquisition of BiH citizenship as well as the records on cessation of BiH citizenship on the basis of renunciation. The content and the manner of keeping the mentioned records shall be prescribed by the Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH. 

> Ljubić Law Firm successfully represents the clients in the proceedures for acquisition and renunciation of citizenship of BiH.

* The article is of an informative nature for the purpose of understanding a specific legal problem. It's not allowed to use the content without the permission of the LJUBIC Law Firm.

Included in the Mondaq platform as an expert's knowledge paper.

Acquisition and renunciation of citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina perform differently in front of national bodies

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Frequently asked questions from clients

The documents required for the process of acquiring BiH citizenship depend on both, your status and the legal basis through which you may enter the procedure as stipulated by the BiH Law on Citizenship. Regarding our Law Firm practice, after insight into your status and after determining the legal basis through which you may acquire/renounce BiH citizenship, we will provide you with all the necessary information on documentation which should be collected. We must note that with your authorisation, our lawyers shall resolve all the issues regarding the citizenship without your presence in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What matters is that the documents may not be older than six months and must be originals.

A person who had renounced the BiH citizenship before, shall be allowed to acquire it again. Among general conditions to be met, he/she must be granted a temporary residence for the period of at least one year before submitting the application, or a permanent residence has already been granted.

If you meet the requirements for the acquisition of BiH citizenship according to the BiH Law on Citizenship, you are not obliged to renounce the Croatian citizenship for the reason there is a bilateral agreement between BiH and the Republic of Croatia in effect since 2012. By the agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina is allowed a dual citizenship with Croatia. The same applies in case you are a citizen of Serbia or Sweden and you meet all the requirements for the acquisition of BiH citizenship because BiH concluded dual citizenship agreements with these countries too.

The competent consulates, according to your place of residence, are solely responsible for issuing a Bosnia-Herzegovinian passport, so it is ungrateful to generalize. We can provide help with consultations and common practice to arrange an appointment at the diplomatic-consular mission.

What our clients have to say

Anja Marić
Netherlands 17/09/2020

I have had Dutch citizenship all my life and since my parents are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I wanted to get both citizenship and a passport, but I didn't know how to do it remotely. Marin explained everything in detail, I just had to submit all required papers. Thank you very much, Anja!

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In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: Checking the legal status of real estate; Verification of real estate in land registers and cadastre; Finding the desired property; Contracts; Real estate registration; Investment studies /


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Acquisition of BiH citizenship; Renouncement of BiH citizenship; Work permits for foreigners; Visa proceedings, Resolving issues of residence and residence permit